Bears Hold Off Beavers, 77-72
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  01/22/2009

Jan. 22, 2009

Final Stats

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Junior guard Natasha Vital helped California avoid a letdown after a big win. With Oregon State putting up a fight, Vital scored 14 of No. 8 Cal's last 20 points to help the Golden Bears to a 77-72 Pacific-10 Conference victory.

Senior forward Ashley Walker had 20 points and seven rebounds for California (15-2, 6-0). Walker scored 16 of her 20 in the second half. Alexis Gray-Lawson added 19 points and Vital had 18 points.

Brittney Davis scored 20 of her game-high 24 points in the second half for Oregon State (11-6, 2-5).

"We were struggling a little bit on offense, so I was just trying to be more aggressive," said Vital.

Vital scored nine straight California points, with the Golden Bears still holding onto a 71-66 lead with 44 seconds left after leading by as many as nine in the second half.

Walker and teammate Lauren Greif added two free throws apiece in the closing seconds to help California hold on.

California coach Joanne Boyle admitted to being concerned about how her team might play going on the road after Sunday's win.

"You always think you're going to have a hangover," She said. "I think our team has grown a little bit in that sense. Our team knows it's going to be a tough trip, coming up to the Oregon schools."

"We always have the X on our back now. We have to be ready to play every game now, no matter who it is," Vital said.

Mercedes Fox-Griffin's two free throws capped an 8-0 Oregon State run that put the Beavers ahead 17-14.

California answered with eight points in a row, including two Gray-Lawson 3-pointers. Davis scored the last four points of the half at the foul line to close Cal's advantage to 27-26 at halftime.

The teams traded the lead four times in the opening minutes of the second half before Cal pulled ahead.

Devanei Hampton's basket put the Golden Bears ahead 54-46. Vital's three-point play gave Cal a 60-51 lead with 6:34 left. Davis later scored five straight as Oregon State closed within 64-60 with 3:58 remaining. But Vital answered with five of her own that kept Cal ahead.

Oregon State missed two free throws and three layins in the final minute that could have closed the deficit. Ashley Walker's 20 points pushed her past 1,800 career points with 1,819. She also moved up to No. 17 on the Pac-10 career scoring list.

The Bears try to improve to 7-0 in the Pac-10 on Saturday when they travel to Eugene to play Oregon. The game tips at 2 pm.